How Southeast achieved ease of doing business

The Southeast may have overcome encumbrances that discouraged investments and stunted revenue sources, as it now ranks among the first-three in the ease of doing business in the country.

Investigations revealed that states in the region were rated worst in 2011 in the country, where businesses were done with such impediments as double charges, taxation, and insecurity of investments, among other bottlenecks that discouraged investors.

The Guardian check, however, revealed that the ugly development may have given way eight years after for a more convivial investment climate that has not only encouraged private investments, but also boosted internally generated revenues (IGR) of governments of the zone.

It was gathered that since streamlining activities in this regard, no state in the zone currently generates less than one billion naira monthly from internal sources. The development was attributed to rising private investments that have leveraged on the favourable business climate in the zone. Only last week, Enugu State government declared it could sustain itself without federal allocation. This is made possible by the monthly internally generated revenue. The state currently rakes in as much as over N25bn yearly from IGR.

The Southeast governors, who insist the country must diversify from oil, however, said they could not have overcome the ugly past without concerted effort that saw them keying into the presidential initiative.

Director-General of the Southeast Governors’ Forum, Prof Uchenna Ortuanya, told a policy roundtable on improving competitiveness of business environment and export ability of Southeast businesses’ products, yesterday, that the zone had overcome its initial fears and was poised to do business with ease.

He said: “Today, you are given an account number to pay into and present the receipt of payment. This is one of the steps we have taken that has made businesses to thrive. We have also assured investors that there is security for their investments. Government may not be in business, but it must assert the political will to ensure that businesses thrive…”

On how the feat was achieved, Ortuanya said: “Right now, taxes are harmonised and are online. Land charges are also online. There is a centralised account system. Now, we have a situation where you can go online and find the charges and know what you will pay. This is opposed to the time people somewhere determine the charges…”

In this article:
IGRUchenna Ortuanya
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